Gil LeBreton

Boo! Look who’s back atop the Colonial leader board

Boo Weekley hits from the ninth fairway on the first day of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.
Boo Weekley hits from the ninth fairway on the first day of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club. Star-Telegram

Because his game has been so erratic this season, Boo Weekley went out Monday and hit “a pretty good bunch of balls.”

“I guess maybe about seven bags,” Weekley said.

“And then I hit a bunch of balls on Tuesday and then putted for about two hours.”

When the alarm rang Wednesday, alas, “It was like I couldn’t get out of bed hardly,” Weekley said. “Just rolled out.”

Yet, there was Weekley, Colonial’s 2013 champion, high on the leader board and speaking to the media after Thursday’s first round, bad back and all.

“Today was just one of those days where I made a lot of putts,” Boo said.

“But it just felt like I punched it around the golf course, because I knew I couldn’t swing at it full.”

With six birdies and a 6-under 64 to tie for the first-round lead, Weekley wasn’t just punching it around and making putts — he was lasering putts. He birdied five times from at least 12 feet. He sank 12 of 12 putts from inside 10 feet. His combined distance on successful putts officially measured 152 feet.

“That’s pretty good,” Boo said, impressed, when told of his day’s putting stats.

He confessed that his heavy practice workload this week might have had something to do with causing his aching back.

“No, that ain’t normal,” Weekly said of the multiple bags of balls. “But last week I felt like I just wasn’t hitting it as solid as I wanted to.

“So we were trying to figure some things out, and that’s the reason it took so many balls.”

Though he is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, Weekley continues to chase his paychecks. After winning the Colonial plaid jacket in 2013, Boo’s 2014 ledger included only one top-10 finish, a tie for fifth at the Byron Nelson Classic. Returning to Colonial the following week as defending champion, he shot 288 and finished 75th.

This year’s worksheet includes a bumpy stretch in March where he missed three cuts and tied for 75th in another event.

A third-place result at the Zurich Invitational in New Orleans four weeks ago gave Weekley hope that he had solved his swing and club problems. But he missed the cut the very next week at the Players Championship in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I just didn’t make no putts,” he said. “Me and my caddy didn’t read the greens real good down there. Missed a lot of short putts.

“It’s just one of them things. If you play the game of golf, you know it comes and goes.”

Reading greens, it seems, much like reading books when he was at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., does not come naturally for Thomas Brent “Boo” Weekley.

“To what do you attribute your difficulty in reading greens?” I asked Weekley on Thursday.

“What do you mean — like why I can’t read them?” Boo asked in return.

“I don’t know. It’s like — I don’t know — I just struggle. I reckon it’s because I second-guess myself so much. I just never can feel comfortable over it, never feel like I read it right.”

Curiously, he doesn’t have his regular caddy this week. Weekley is working with Travis Perkins, a former fellow mini-Tour player.

“He can read the greens,” Boo attested.

His turning point Thursday came on the par-3 13th.

“I kind of chili-whomped it out there to the right side, and nine times out of 10 that ball goes in the water,” Weekley said.

A 15-foot putt saved par and sent the 2013 champ, who started the day on the back nine, on his way.

Weekley planned to go right from the interview room to the medical treatment tent.

“We just tried to manage [the sore back], knowing that we couldn’t hit the full shots,” he said. “So we went down a club and just punched it around the golf course, and I made some putts.

“Made a lot of putts, actually.”

Yes, he did.

Six birdies. Two 20-footers. And Florida-born Boo Weekley — still proudly sponsored by the likes of Bass Pro Shops, Jack Daniels and Hooters — ended the day with a share of Colonial’s first-round lead.

Maybe, he hopes, he’s finally figured his 2015 season out.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

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